A UWE Bristol students' guide to being more eco-friendly!

It’s easy to reduce your carbon footprint by adopting simple, eco-friendly habits throughout your time at UWE Bristol. Whether you’ve got the willpower to go vegan, want to save on your electricity bills or have been following Greta’s important activism, you can do your bit when it comes to helping the planet!

Here are our top ten tips to reduce your carbon footprint (and save some pennies too!):

1. Use the library instead of buying new books

Our library contains a whole host of books. So to save paper, head there when you want to try a new book instead of buying one online or from a bookshop. Borrowing a book will reduce your carbon footprint by eliminating both the delivery process and extra paper usage; it will also save you a fair few quid on the way.

2. Turn your appliances off before lectures

Not only will you be saving on your electricity bills by switching off lights, TVs and computers before you leave the house, you will reduce your own carbon footprint by conserving energy. Appliances also use a lot of energy when they’re on standby, so if you really want to save your pennies, it’s best to switch them off at the plug.

3. Bring your own bags when you go shopping

Bringing your own reusable bags when you go shopping is a great way to be more eco-friendly and lessen your plastic usage. Plastic bags are recyclable, but the majority of them will still end up in landfill sites where they can take up to hundreds of years to break down. And to think of your bank balance, if you buy 5p bags each time you go shopping, it can add up- which means you could be unnecessarily spending money and wasting plastic.

4. Get a reusable water bottle

Buy a reusable water bottle instead of drinking from single-use plastic ones. By doing this, you will be helping decrease the amount of pollution in the air and water sources, as many landfill facilities incinerate plastic bottles to save waste- which can emit toxic pollutants into the air.

As well as saving on landfill, you also won’t be contributing to the manufacturing, shipping and destroying of plastic bottles in the future, which reduces energy and your carbon footprint. It could also help you save money in the long run, especially if you often buy bottled water.

Why not treat yourself to one of our snazzy bottles in the SU shop? You can fill them up for FREE all over campus at our Hydration Stations!

5. Reduce your plastic usage day-to-day

When you think about the amount of plastic we use each day, it’s a kind of scary thought! So, it’s good to do all you can to stop using single-use and non-reusable plastics. For example, why not invest in a reusable straw? Or ditch them altogether if you can!

When buying vegetables and fruit from large supermarket chains, you may find it also comes with a lot of single-use plastic. Instead, how about you check out the E-Block fruit and veg stall? They sell their produce naked! Cheeky!

Not only can it help you reduce your consumption of single-use plastic, but it can also help you avoid buying larger quantities of food that could be wasted.

6. Walk to campus instead of driving

If you can find a way to UWE Bristol using public transport, walking or cycling, you will greatly reduce your carbon emissions each day. Cars are a costly mode of transport, especially if you only plan to drive for short trips that are easily replaced by walking or cycling.

Did you know you can rent a bike for a whole YEAR for just £60 at UWE Bristol? Full maintenance, lights and a lock are all included!

7. Don't flush foreign objects

Flushing objects and materials- with the exception of toilet paper- can greatly impact the environment. Around 8 million tonnes of plastic feeds into the ocean each year, and over 8% of that comes from items we flush down the toilet. Recent research by drainage company, UKDN Waterflow, revealed that commonly flushed items like wet wipes, cotton buds, tampons and pads take 500 years or more to biodegrade in the ocean. This could threaten marine life and potentially enter our food chain.

Did you know that you can buy a menstrual cup for just £10 in our SU shop? We sell a range of plastic-free pads and tampons too!

If you’re unsure on what you can and cannot flush down the toilet, take this quiz to find out more.

8. Eat local foods

The food we consume often travels thousands of miles before it ends up in our houses. This means emissions are much higher in comparison to local foods, due to transportation from where food is grown and packaged. Local greengrocers, butchers and markets usually buy produce that is locally sourced, so choosing to buy your weekly staples from them could help reduce your carbon footprint as well as contribute toward the local economy.

Better yet, come to our Community Garden sessions and learn how to grow your own!

9. Compost leftover food

Use your food waste bin and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill sites. When food is thrown into landfill, it releases methane as it rots- a greenhouse gas that is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide!

Did you know that all food waste at UWE Bristol gets sent to local anaerobic digester GENeco? This means that your vegetable peelings could be powering Bristol’s streetlights! 

10. Try a veggie or vegan diet

Research from Oxford University has found that by cutting out both meat and dairy products, you could reduce your carbon footprint by up to 73%. Wow!

Even reducing your meat intake will make a difference. What better way to try out some plant-based food than with a 20% discount on a range of veggie and vegan dishes in our SU bar on the 7th of October? Meatless Mondays for everyone!